Everything you need to know about your Invisalign aligners

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Dentist Melbourne
Melbourne's Home of Dentistry

invisalign alignersIf you’ve taken the step to straighten your smile with Invisalign, you no doubt have a ton of questions about your treatment plan.

Here, we outline everything you need to know about your Invisalign aligners.

How do I insert my Invisalign aligners?

To avoid confusion, each aligner is marked with the following: your individual case number, a ‘U’ for upper or an ‘L’ for lower, and your stage number. You may insert either aligner first.

To do so, gently push the aligner over your front teeth; then, applying equal pressure, use a fingertip to push the tops of your left and right molars (back teeth) until the aligner clicks into place. DO NOT bite your aligners into position, this could damage them.

 How do I remove my aligners?

Using your fingertips, start on one side at the molars (back teeth) and gently tug the aligner free, slowly working your way around the other side. Take care in removing your aligners, particularly if multiple attachments are being used. Do not use excessive force to bend or twist an aligner and DO NOT use sharp objects to remove them.

Consult with your orthodontist if your Invisalign aligners are difficult to remove. 

How often do I need to wear my Invisalign aligners?

Your aligners are to be worn for a minimum of 22 hours per day, only to be removed when you are eating, drinking or cleaning your teeth.

If they are worn for less than 22 hours each day, you may need to wear the aligners over a longer period to compensate, thus increasing the length of your treatment. 

Will wearing my aligners hurt?

Most people experience temporary, minor discomfort for a few days at the beginning of each new stage of treatment. This is normal and is typically described as a feeling of pressure. It is a sign that the aligners are working – sequentially moving your teeth towards their final destination.

This discomfort typically goes away a couple of days after you insert the new aligner in each series. Over-the-counter pain management can also help, if required.

Will wearing aligners affect my speech? 

Like all orthodontic treatments, aligners may temporarily affect the speech of some people and you may have a slight lisp for the first few days. However, as your tongue gets used to having aligners in your mouth, any lisp or minor change in speech that is caused by the aligners should disappear.

Can I take my aligners out for a special occasion?

If necessary, you can remove your aligners for a special occasion. However, we do not recommend you do so regularly. If you choose to remove them, please extend the number of days over which you wear your aligners to compensate.

What are Aligner Chewies?

To help seat your aligners properly, we recommend you use Aligner Chewies. These are small, round rolls of non-toxic, soft plastic that you chew between your aligners to gently push each one into position. Clench down on the Chewie to begin with, then move it around your mouth and repeat. To ensure the Invisalign aligners are properly seated, you are advised to use these Chewies for 10 to 15 minutes each day.

Can I eat and drink with my aligners in?

You should remove your aligners whenever you eat and whenever you drink anything other than cold water. This will prevent staining, the formation of cavities and disfigurement of the aligners due to heat. Do not chew any kind of gum with your aligners in place; gum sticks to aligners and is difficult to remove other than with an extra visit to the dentist.

Before reinserting your aligners after each meal or snack, you should ideally floss and brush your teeth. This will help to avoid problems caused by food products or sugars left in your mouth.

How do I clean and care for my Invisalign aligners?

It is best to clean your aligners before each insertion. This can be done using cold water and a toothbrush (without toothpaste). Soaking aligners in cool water and vinegar will remove any stains or debris (other than gum!); while Retainer Brite will help you do the job with your eyes closed, as it were. Simply place your aligners in a cup of water blue. Once the water is clear again, your aligners will be too! Rinse them thoroughly in cold water before reinserting. It is best to clean your aligners while they are out during mealtimes, to avoid extra time out of the mouth.

Do not use warm or hot water, denture cleaners or mouthwash, as these will distort the aligners. 

When taking your aligners out to ear to drink, remember to store them in the protective box provided. Avoid placing them in tissue or your pockets to prevent accidentally damaging or discarding them. 

Why do my aligners have bumps in them?

Some of the movements require “attachments” to help the aligners grip your teeth. These bumps or “wells” are where the aligner grips the attachment that the orthodontist fits to your teeth, and your lips and cheeks will adapt to these.

However, with your aligners in place, attachments are fully covered and you will not notice them.

Will I need to wear elastics with my aligners? 

Depending on your course of treatment, you may be required to wear elastics (rubber bands) between your upper and lower teeth. It is important that these are worn as prescribed; otherwise your treatment may be prolonged.

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